The Link Between Sugar and Cancer. Can a low-carb diet reduce cancer?
Lately, people are questioning whether sugar and cancer are related. Some people say that the more sugar you eat, the higher your risk of cancer, and the faster the cancer will grow.
There are merits to both sides of the argument.
Some places, like the Mayo Clinic and the American Medical Association, say there is absolutely no link between the amounts of sugar you eat and how fast cancer grows.
But, there have been few studies on cancer to show that the amount of sugar somebody eats either positively or negatively affects the growth rate of cancer.
So, what do we believe?
What Cancer Is…
Cancer is an abnormal growth of cells where the cells grow uncontrollably and destroy normal, healthy tissues.
Most of the time, cancer cells are unable to function healthily and that causes debilitation in people.
However, as much as we hear about cancer and how devastating it is, it's actually pretty rare.
You see, for cancer to start, there has to be a mistake in DNA.
Your DNA replicates millions of times every day. There are dozens of fail-safe procedures meant to catch any strands of the DNA that reproduced incorrectly.
It's estimated that less than 1% of all errors in your DNA make it through this rigorous vetting process.
Of that tiny amount that does get through, most of the errors are you there unnoticeable or ineffective.
That means if a cell can form from that particular strand of DNA, it dies shortly after because it can’t do vital functions.
Of the minuscule fraction that can survive, it becomes either beneficial, neutral, or detrimental.
If it’s good, and aids in our ability to survive, it becomes a favorable trait that’s passed on to the next generation, forming the basis of the theory of evolution.
Neutral mistakes tend not to change anything and usually get ignored.
But, when it is detrimental, that's when you get cancer. And even that only grows to be a problem if the immune system doesn’t destroy it before it becomes a problem.
Summary: Your body is designed to fight any DNA that reproduces incorrectly. Cancer is the result of a detrimental problem that passes through the 1% of errors that make it through your rigorous vetting process.
What Cancer Needs To Grow
Whenever new tissue forms in the body, it forms complementary blood vessels to bring nutrients to the area.
Cancer can reroute blood vessels, so it gets an abnormally high amount of nutrients. This helps fuel fast growth.
Some cancers are also known to emit hormones that direct nutrients to the cancer cells.
For example, pancreatic cancer can emit insulin in high amounts, even if the person previously had diabetes. It causes the person to crave sugar almost to an uncontrollable level.
The Mayo Clinic holds on to the theory that an excessive amount of dietary fats fuels and causes cancer.
However, other research shows that some cancers lack the ability to metabolize fats like normal healthy cells.
This ability (or lack) to use ketone bodies in replacement of carbohydrates first set off the idea that cancer is fueled exclusively by carbohydrates and cutting carbs from a person’s diet may be the cure.
Summary: They Mayo Clinic held the belief for years that dietary fats can cause cancer, however, it seems research showed some cancers lacked the ability to metabolize fats. This sparked the idea that cancer is fueled by carbohydrates and cutting them may help.
The Diet That Kills Cancer
In the 1960s, there was a pivotal study started and dubbed “Project 259”.
Based on preliminary research, rats that were fed a high sugar diet develop breast and bladder cancers at nearly double the rate of rats that had a high starch diet.
However, to complete the study, the researchers needed funding, which had come under the jurisdiction of the Sugar Industry.
According to researchers "Based on ISRF's [the Sugar industry] interpretation of preliminary results," explains Prof. Stanton Glantz, UCSF professor of medicine and director of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, "extending Project 259's funding would have been unfavorable to the sugar industry's commercial interests."
Fortunately, today, more research is being poured into the link between sugar and cancer.
Based on observations within the medical and wellness communities, people who follow a lower carbohydrate diet tend to fare better against cancer and tend to have a lower risk of developing cancer.
We often see at Custom Health Centers that people lower the chances of many types of diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and painful joints by losing weight in a healthy and controlled manner.
There are several possible reasons for this; sugar is only one.
- First, when a person switches to a lower carbohydrate diet, they typically cut out all processed foods. Most processed foods contain preservatives and artificial chemicals, most of which are known carcinogens. Generally, when you stop adding things that cause cancer, your risk goes down.
- Next link to a lower carbohydrate diet is that it can increase the number of vegetables you eat. Vegetables contain a lot of antioxidants nutrients that keep a body healthy. Many of them are known to stimulate the immune system, which can eliminate cancer on its own.
- Finally, there is the low sugar. Although the medical associations insist that cancer cells use no more sugar than the rest of your body, rapidly growing cells require more fuel. If you deprive the body of its primary source of fuel and switch over to a type of fuel that the cancer is unable to metabolize, you basically starve cancer.
Any way you look at it, a lower carbohydrate diet helps reduce your risk of problems.
Eliminating processed foods is a big help in controlling your diet and moving towards a healthier lifestyle.
Dr. Jason Olafsson D.C.
Founder & CEO
Doctor of Chiropractic